Published: Wed, May 16, 2018

Lyft drops arbitration requirement for sexual assault cases

Lyft drops arbitration requirement for sexual assault cases

Uber riders who experience sexual harassment or assault will now be able to take their claims to court, instead of being forced into private arbitration, the ride-hailing app announced Tuesday.

The San Francisco company is also scrapping a policy requiring all settlements of sexual misconduct to be kept confidential, giving victims the choice of whether they want to make their allegations public.

Uber is now facing a class action lawsuit in the United States for poor driver vetting that has led to a series of sexual harassment incidents, including rape. However, an Uber spokesman added that arbitration isn't necessarily bad. Advocates for victims of sexual crimes say forced arbitration clauses, in which matters are settled internally instead of publicly in a court with a judge or jury, make it hard to seek true justice. West included, "I wish to thank (the reporter) for the reporting that you have actually done on this problem".

Since then, calls for the end of forced arbitration for sexual assault survivors have intensified.

Uber did not provide details on the number of sexual harassment cases that are pending or have been settled, but when contacted by Reuters it said it will not revisit past cases that have been settled through the confidentiality agreement. "This policy extends to passengers, drivers and Lyft employees", said Lyft spokesperson Alexandra LaManna in a statement on Tuesday.

There is no openly offered information for the variety of sexual assaults by Uber chauffeurs or motorists of other rideshare business. the reporter's analysis originated from a thorough evaluation of authorities reports, federal court records and county court databases for 20 significant United States cities.

Additionally, it will publish a "safety transparency report" that will put numbers behind sexual assaults and other incidents that occur on its platform.

A minimum of 31 motorists have actually been founded guilty for criminal offenses varying from forcible touching and unlawful imprisonment to rape, and lots of criminal and civil cases are pending, the reporter discovered. The women, represented by law firm Wigdor LLP, made a direct appeal to Uber's board in a letter last month, asking directors to waive the company's mandatory arbitration and anti-class action provisions. However, the numbers suggest that there may be many more overall incidents of sexual assault than the cases found in the investigation.

West informed the reporter he anticipates the variety of reports to increase when Uber launches information on sexual assaults and other events. As per Uber's terms of service that exists today, passengers relinquish their right to pursue any claims against Uber in open court when they sign up as a rider. In his blog post, West said the company met with more than 80 women's groups to develop appropriate data-collection strategies.

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